Brush with Fate

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Brush with Fate
Written by Susan Vreeland
Richard Russo
Directed by Brent Shields
Starring Ellen Burstyn
Glenn Close
Thomas Gibson
Phyllida Law
Theme music composer Lawrence Shragge
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Cameron Johann
Thomas John Kane
Editor(s) Scott Vickrey
Cinematography Eric Noman Van Haren
Running time 100 minutes
Original release
  • February 2, 2003 (2003-02-02)

Brush with Fate was a made-for-TV film debuted on February 2, 2003, on CBS. It followed the life of an imaginary painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer as it passes through the hands of various people. The film was based on Girl In Hyacinth Blue, a novel by author Susan Vreeland, and starred Glenn Close and Ellen Burstyn. The imaginary painting 'Girl in Hyacinth Blue', the principal object in this film, is painted exactly in Vermeer's painting technique by the American master painter Jonathan Janson, author and webmaster of the world-known website about the life and work of Johannes Vermeer "Essential Vermeer".[1][2]


Richard is a new art teacher at a high school. Cornelia Englebrecht (played by Glenn Close) is a history teacher who invites Richard to see a painting of a young girl at a table, which she believes to be a genuine Vermeer, where she tells him stories, which are portrayed as flashbacks about the people who owned the painting in the past. All of the stories take place in the Netherlands, and the flashbacks happen mostly before the one preceding it. The first story, from the late 1800s, involved a romance and had flashbacks within flashbacks. Another story took place in the early 1700s when a baby was abandoned during a flood after a dike break. The painting accompanied the baby and was intended to be sold for the baby's expenses.

In the next story, a man left a university to take a job working with the machinery used for the dikes. He got interested in a servant girl who was punished by being put in stocks. It is revealed in this story where the baby came from.

The next story was very brief, and in it, a woman, who was unsuccessful in bidding for the painting at an auction, seemed to know more about the painting than the auctioneer. The next story revealed how Vermeer came to paint the girl's picture. Finally, Cornelia tells us how she came in possession of the painting, and it is perhaps the most interesting story of them all

Tagline: A mystery hidden for generations. Now the truth will finally be revealed.



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